Safety & Water Quality

Like any endurance event, participating in the Chicago River Swim includes assumed personal risk. To mitigate the overall level of risk, event organizers have created a series of water quality standards, safety protocols and participatory rules in which this event will operate.


Participant, volunteer, spectator and staff safety is paramount to the Chicago River Swim operation, and a robust Safety Plan was created with the support of the Chicago Fire Department, Chicago Police and the U.S. Coast Guard. Dozens of in-water and land-based rescue personnel, staff and volunteers will support swimmers through the event. Additionally, the CRS has partnered with the Chicago Harbor Safety Committee to educate the commercial waterway community on the upcoming event.


The CRS will only operate if waters are deemed safe for human exposure. This is a primary function of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD), the water quality authority for the Chicago River who publishes water quality data. In addition, the CRS will create a Water Quality Advisory Committee composed of local experts to serve as advisors to the event leadership team, and third party water testing will be conducted and shared with the public at various points prior to the event.

Additional details will be posted on this page once finalized and approved by all authorities.